Wentworth

September 1, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | CRIME, Drama, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TV SERIES |

Remake series 1 – 3 (Foxtel) It is not Covid-19, but FLU-68 that is destroying Australian television.  Fervid Ludicrous Upscaling first infected Australian drama series writers (and directors) in 1968, causing them to throw Charlie Cousens off a silo in the eponymous town of Bellbird (ABC 1967-1977). Each generation of writers catches it from the last and is less able to resist its degenerative depredations, no matter how many doses of Edge of Darkness (BBC 1985) or Better Call Saul (Sony etc., 2015-2019) vaccine they have had. Perhaps there’s been a switch a la The Young Doctors (1976-1983) and the syringes are filled with Erinsborough tap water. Australian tv…

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Ex Machina

September 1, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Alex Garland) (2015) Caleb Smith (Domnhall Gleeson), a lowly programmer with a Google-like company, wins a week-long visit to the fabulous home of Nathan Bateman, the remote Bezos-Jobs-like founder of the company. Bateman (Oscar Isaac) is a cool guy. He asks Caleb to spend time with Ava (Alicia Vikander) the humanoid robot built by Bateman. He wants Caleb to determine whether Ava is conscious and aware. Can she have a really, truly relationship with Caleb? Wow! What an opportunity! Not only is Ava a stunningly advanced type of AI, she’s pretty, except for the robot body bit. (But…

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Never Let Me Go

Book written by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005) Film directed by Mark Romanek (2010) Ishiguro, Romanek, please let us go, you heartless bastards.  Not since Chris Lilley killed Pat Mullins (We Can Be Heroes: Finding the Australian of the Year of the Year, ABC TV, 2005)  have we at TVC been rendered sleepless by an afflicted fictional character. And we could laugh at Pat. Laugh at any of the characters in Ishiguro’s book or Romanek’s film of the book and you will go straight to hell. It is best perhaps to watch Romanek’s realisation before reading Ishiguro’s pitiless novel. The film transforms…

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RocKwiz Salutes Eurovison (2021)

June 29, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 25 June 2021 We thought nothing could stop the Eurovision Song Contest.  The plastic glitter tv extravaganza that has been jauntily assaulting our eyeballs, ears and self-respect since 1956 is proof against international conflict, political controversy and stage-bombers.  But a little virus from a non-competing country cancelled the contest in 2020 and Eurovision tragics had to content themselves with The Story of Fire Saga . The SBS music quiz tv show RocKwiz is keeping the legend alive in 2021 for those Australians who cannot travel. From the Gershwin Room in St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel in Melbourne to…

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Eurovision 2021 (Rotterdam)

May 25, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | LIFE, Modern Music, MUSIC, THEATRE |

The Varnished Culture had night sweats and knotted stomachs awaiting the return of the Eurovision Song Contest. On ice in 2020 due to something or other, we had only Will Ferrell’s lovely tribute to sustain us for a year. Even now, Covid’s ugly head reared and “prevented” the Australian contingent from attending Rotterdam in person. This perhaps caused Australia’s offering, “Technicolour” by Montaigne, to fall at the semi-final stage, which is patently unfair and unjust. Still, Eurovision is the byword for dazzling, iridescent mediocrity, so there we are. Our points system, you’ll recall, rates each song on ‘real world merit,’…

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